Free Speech Union Vows to Change Law After PayPal Deplatforming

Free Speech Union

The Free Speech Union has vowed to secure a change in the law after it, its founder Toby Young, and the Daily Sceptic website were all deplatformed by PayPal.

The trade union-like organisation, the Free Speech Union (FSU) has successfully defended, among others, a railway worker and a radio presenter punished by their employers for questioning “white privilege” and Harry Miller, a former policeman who had been branded as the perpetrator of a “non-crime hate incident” over social media posts which offended transgender activists.

Now, however, it has been deplatformed by PayPal, supposedly for having “breached the company’s ‘Acceptable Use Policy’”.

FSU founder Toby Young’s personal account has also been banned — leaving him unable to access of hundreds of pounds of his own money for months — and so has the Daily Sceptic, a Young-linked online news outlet which has been critical of anti-coronavirus lockdowns and highlighted what it believes are issues with government-backed mass vaccination campaigns.

“None of the accounts, including Toby’s personal account, which he’s had since 2013, have been told they have breached any of PayPal’s policies before,” the FSU noted in a press release on the triple banning.

“We still do not know why, exactly, PayPal closed the FSU’s account, but we suspect it is because someone at PayPal – possibly the entire C-suite – disapproves of some of the people we have defended,” the organisation suggested.

“PayPal has form when it comes to demonetising points of view it disagrees with, having recently shut down the accounts of the advocacy group UsForThem, as well as the personal account of the gender critical evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, and the account of Gays Against Groomers, an LGB group that opposes the teaching of gender ideology in schools.”

“T]he FSU is going to try to get the law changed so PayPal and other financial services companies can’t deplatform other people for expressing political views they disapprove of,” Young said in an interview with Laura Dodsworth, a lockdown-critical writer.

“I feel like saying to PayPal, ‘You messed with the wrong guy’,” he added.

Despite his sometimes dissident leanings, Young is well connected with the establishment right in the media and political class in London, and the FSU’s deplatforming has earned blowback from some mainstream outlets.

Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator magazine, called for “a law a making it illegal to deny digital services to anyone on grounds of race, creed or colour – and creed includes belief” in an article for The Telegraph, which is close to Britain’s governing Conservative Party, titled ‘PayPal’s censorship marks a vicious new phase in the war on free speech’.

In truth, however, dissident right-wingers being banished by payment processors or even debanked has been going on for years, with controversial figures such as Tommy Robinson having served as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

The mainstream right failed to kick up much of a fuss at the time, however, likely because they find the victims personally unsavoury — a selective form of free speech advocacy more typical of the left, which they may now be regretting.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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